By: Daniel C. Finley

Being Passionately Productive

Many advisors and agents run their day-to-day activities around which fire they need to put out at any one particular moment. Their passion is focused on appeasing the most current client request which is usually not a time sensitive issue and thus an unproductive use of valuable time.

Henry David Thoreau said it best, “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Have you ever taken the time to think about the level of success you could have if you spent your time being passionately productive, prioritizing on efficient and effective activities?

If so, utilize the following steps to help guide you through that process.

Step #1: Prioritize Tasks & Interruptions

The first step is to prioritize tasks and interruptions into one of four categories-now, today, this week or whenever. This can be done by using a tool that I created for my coaching clients, The Time Matrix To-Do List.

Mike S., a twenty year veteran financial advisor client couldn’t keep up with putting out the constant “fires” that his clients contacted him with each day.  Unfortunately, he had lost his assistant a few weeks earlier and was feeling the full effect of juggling everything on his own. I had him fill out The Time Matrix To-Do List so we could organize his activities and client asks.

Step #2: Manage Time Sensitive Items First

The second step is to tackle only the urgent (now) and important (today) activities.

Once Mike had his Time Matrix To-Do List tool filled out, I recommended that he manage the time sensitive items, the urgent (now) ones first. He began working on all of those tasks until they were completed. Next he moved onto any important (today) items which needed to be addressed by the end of the day.

Step #3: Handle Weekly Deadlines

The third step is to schedule a time during the week to do anything that is tagged as this week moving any items that need to be done by the end of the week into the important (today) category as the week wears on.

One of the most common mistakes that advisors/agents make when they start to get caught up is to forget managing moving deadlines, as those tasks that were not urgent (now) or important (today) a few days ago or when they originally surfaced but as the week wears on  they become last minute items that now require attention. 

To avoid this I suggested that Mike schedule 30 minutes at the end of each day to work on any items that needed to be accomplished by the end of the week so that a backup wasn’t created. He did this and found that it decreased the stress that procrastinating was generating for him.

Step #4: Take Care of Loose Ends

The fourth step is to parse out and time block for your whenever activities so a dedicated time is assigned and they don’t continue to get pushed on your calendar.

Mike took care of loose ends on Friday afternoons, a time to work on any ongoing projects or items that simply didn’t have a due date. That way he could go into the weekend with peace of mind with nothing having slipped through the cracks.

Why Being Passionately Productive Works

Following this stepwise approach you view each task and interruption as merely an opportunity to check off each one based on true priority and not by being immediately reactive. The reason why being passionately productive works so well is because it puts you in the driver’s seat, it’s that simple.

After a month of using this system Mike not only felt more in control of his time and to-do list but found himself more productive (and thus successful) than he could ever remember.  

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